communication, social media

The old American double standard…

The featured photo was shared on Janis Ian’s Facebook page. I think she might want to consider if maybe she, herself, falls into the “easily offended” category… And before anyone comes at me, I hasten to add that I know I can be a bit prickly and easily offended about some things myself. I am human, after all.

Some years ago, I heard George Carlin talk about what he referred to as “the old American double standard”. His exact words were:

It’s the old American Double Standard, ya know: Say one thing, do something different. And of course this country is founded on the double standard, that’s our history! We were founded on a very basic double standard: This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free.

As I sit here on a Monday morning, eyes barely cracked open after a busy few days, I’m remembering George’s wise words. In fact, I was talking to Bill about them this morning, as I read a scolding Facebook post by Janis Ian. A few days ago, as I was eating Quiche Lorraine in Ribeauville, I noticed a post Janis put on Facebook. It was a quote. For some reason, even though she is a critically acclaimed songwriter, Janis Ian likes to post quotes by other people. And somehow, when she posts quotes, the comment section goes south, and she ends up chastising someone and/or closing comments in apparent disgust.

One of the contentious posts on Janis Ian’s page. She turned off commenting.

Janis had posted the above quote that some people thought was misattributed. Someone left a comment pointing out that she was “spreading misinformation”. The person’s remark was a little bit rude, and Janis responded in a rather pissy way. I happened to agree with the commenter that people should be more careful about sharing quotes and making sure they are attributed to the right person. In fact, one of my most popular posts is about how people misattributed a quote to Betty White that she specifically stated she never said, and never would say in a million years.

Again, I do think it’s important to get quotes both correct, and credited to the right person. As a highly acclaimed songwriter, it seems to me that Janis Ian would agree. I mean, how would she like it if someone made a meme using a line from “At Seventeen” or “Society’s Child” and attributed it to Carole King, Joni Mitchell, or Janis Joplin? My guess is that she wouldn’t like it… and if someone dared to share it on her page, she would call it out. Below is one of the more civilized exchanges on the post in question. I cut and pasted it, because the poster and I agree that there’s a bit of a double standard going on here…

I didn’t comment on the post myself. I’ve followed Janis’s page long enough to realize that she doesn’t always concede gracefully. I continue to follow her, though, because she’s often funny. I also appreciate that she appears to do her own social media, something I find refreshing and interesting. I like her music. However, I have a feeling we probably wouldn’t get along if we were to meet offline somewhere.

This morning, I was reading her page again, when I noticed this:

Do people really stop to read up on the people whose quotes are shared online? My guess is that most of them don’t… just like they don’t read news articles before commenting on the headlines.

I don’t know anything about H.L. Mencken, but I do know something about Sunday School. I was forced to attend for years. I didn’t find it to be particularly awful, since I grew up in a mainstream Presbyterian church, but I do know that there are a lot of toxic religions out there that do a lot of damage to people. I’ve written about quite a few of them in my blog.

On the above post, I noticed a lot of people were sharing their experiences. Some people were agreeing with the quote from Mencken. Others were apparently offended that Janis Ian was posting about religion. Some pointed out that Ms. Ian is Jewish, so what would she know about Sunday School? I think that could be a valid point. I could also understand why some people felt offended by the quote, since they are, themselves, religious.

I didn’t find the quote offensive, but I do think how people will take it depends on their own perspective, and there are so many of them to consider. And unfortunately, there are a lot of jerks on the Internet who get off on trying to pull “gotchas” on people. On the other hand, sometimes people are simply trying to prevent misinformation. If, for instance, I posted that Dolly Parton wrote the “Star Spangled Banner”, I would expect people to correct me. If I truly believed she wrote it, maybe I’d get a little pissed off by having my pride insulted by a well-deserved correction. But in the long run, it’s better that I know the truth, right? That way, I don’t look foolish later, telling people something that is obviously wrong.

I think there’s a fine line between being a jerk trying to make someone feel small, and honestly trying to give credit where credit is due. And while I agree that some posters were less than gracious in their comments on Janis’s page, I also think that Janis isn’t always as even-keeled as she could be. I’ve noticed that she has a tendency to scold people, sometimes when I don’t think they necessarily did anything to warrant such a response. It’s possible she does this because she’s a sensitive, creative, artistic person. Or maybe she’s a little narcissistic, as narcissists are often the type to shame and scold. Either way, it’s an aspect of her online personality that I don’t particularly like very much. Like I wrote up post, if we were to meet offline, I sense that we wouldn’t like each other. But then, if that turned out to be true, and Janis didn’t like me much, she’d be one of many people. 😉 I’m the kind of person people tend to love or hate. 😀

A recent post by Janis… I see her point, but her point is one of many that could be presented…

Janis Ian often posts quotes by people she apparently admires, even if they weren’t “good people”. I actually applaud her for discouraging the ever popular “cancel culture” that a lot of people think is justice today. People are complicated and complex, and sometimes brilliant people say and do shitty things. It shouldn’t necessarily negate everything else they do in life. On the other hand, if you’re going to post something for public consumption, chances are good that someone is going to be contrary or inappropriate.

If you’re a famous person, it’s even more likely that someone is going to take a dump on your post. I know it’s annoying. It even happens to me sometimes, and I am not famous at all. But one thing I would like to ask Janis is, why is it up to her to decide what should, or should not, offend other people? If someone is offended by Picasso, shouldn’t they be free to state that? Isn’t that how productive discussions in free societies get started? Wouldn’t it be better to just take a breath, validate the person’s viewpoint, and then try to have a civilized chat about it, rather than just dismissing them as being “too easily offended” and scolding them for being “argumentative”? Why post this stuff if it just leads to exasperation and shutting down the comment section?

I will admit that the comment sections on my own blog are set to shut down after a certain time. I don’t do that on the travel blog, because most of the stuff posted there isn’t controversial. I do it on this blog, because sometimes people find old content and try to stir up shit on subjects that are old news. I don’t get enough productive comments from people on old content to justify leaving comment sections open, although I’m always open to re-evaluating my policies. I prefer to let my regular readers be the ones who comment, though, and they usually do so on posts when they’re new. Troublemakers and spammers hit the old stuff.

I try not to be hypocritical, and while it can be hard, when I’m wrong, I do try to admit to it. I’ve been wrong about a lot of things. I’ve also been right about a lot of things. I think it’s best to try to stay open-minded about most topics, although I can agree that sometimes people can be so open-minded their brains can fall out. Or, that’s my opinion, anyway.

I guess my main point is that opinions run the gamut. As my favorite uncle, Brownlee, used to say “Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one.” I know he didn’t come up with that quote, nor did he come up with the follow on… “Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one, and everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks.” I think that’s pretty accurate, don’t you? I just wish people who claim to be open-minded and desirous of discussion would take a moment to examine their own behaviors before pointing out other people’s bad behaviors. Because chances are, the speck you’re trying to remove from someone else’s eye is obscured by the plank in your own. And yes… I know that’s a concept that comes from the Bible.

Maybe I learned something in Sunday School, after all. Praise be!

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ethics, Ex, narcissists, social media

The most excellent empress of excessive effrontery and extravagance…

All week, I’ve wondered if or when there will be a jubilant announcement from Ex regarding the latest addition to the family. So far, not a peep has emanated from Ex’s fingers to her keyboard about her new grandson. I find this to be unusual behavior for her. However, there is one thing she has been doing this week that is not unusual or unexpected at all…

A few days ago, I wrote a post about how Ex was, once again, begging for money from celebrities and strangers, ostensibly to pay for a new fence for her son, who has severe autism and apparently needs to be confined when he goes outside. She publicly posted a link on Twitter to a crowdfunding attempt, her second since early spring. In her pitch for funds, she wrote this:

Sounds like a pretty desperate situation, right? I know my heart is breaking.

It seems to me that if a crowdfund is necessary to raise thousands of dollars to erect a secure fence, one might also think that there isn’t room in the budget for extraneous stuff, like autographed books written by actors. And if one who begs for money does feel the need to make a purchase that might seem like an unnecessary extravagance to other people, one might hope they’d want to keep that purchase under their hat, so to speak. I mean, it’s in pretty poor taste to beg for money for a fence, but then gleefully cheer about the prospect of buying something that isn’t essential for living. But Ex isn’t like most people. Basic consideration and rules that might apply to other people, don’t apply to her. I should not have been surprised when I saw this on her Twitter feed…

According to her crowdfunding pitch, Ex’s household subsists on just one stream of income. She claims that she lives “paycheck to paycheck”, and is begging strangers to contribute $6000 for a fence… yet she has about $50 to spend on an autographed book. What should we conclude about this?

Actually, I don’t have to draw any new conclusions. I know that Ex will stoop to incredibly low levels to get her endless wants and needs satisfied at other people’s expense. She is not above shaming people, either, even when they are her own minor children who genuinely need something from her. For example, we have heard about how, when Bill’s younger daughter needed an orthopedic device for a condition affecting her feet, Ex would endlessly complain about how expensive it was. She would make a huge deal about having to spend money on her oldest three children, even though Bill was giving her $2550 a month in child support, and the children could have had full medical coverage through the military. Meanwhile, she also did things like force them to give up things they needed so that she would look kind and generous to other people– strangers, even.

As I was telling Bill about this discovery yesterday, he said he was reminded about something that happened soon after their divorce. Bill had gone to Arizona to see his kids. This was before she launched her extreme parental alienation campaign that would keep them apart for over fifteen years. At the time, Bill lived on about $600 a month, because he was giving Ex $2550 a month, plus paying the mortgage on their house in Arkansas, which she eventually let go into foreclosure after tenants stole the toilet out of it.

Ex had asked Bill about palm pilots, which were all the rage at the time. She said she might get one for her eldest son, a product of her first marriage. Bill happened to own an inexpensive Handspring Visor. He showed it to her, and said it cost about $125. He used it for work purposes.

Ex said, “So you can spend $125 on gadgets, but you can’t send more money for your children?”

I know I shouldn’t have been surprised or outraged. This is very normal behavior for her. Still, when I remember that back in those days, Bill lived alone in a drafty, sparsely furnished apartment… his main source of entertainment was nightly chats with me on Yahoo! Messenger and reading the stories I used to write. His one saving grace was that his job required him to travel a lot, so he would get per diem money. He never used all of the money he was given for food, so he was able to use that for extra things, like a cheap palm pilot. But that wasn’t enough for Ex. She wanted EVERYTHING. And yes, it does outrage me that she has the nerve to demand everything, as she simultaneously claims to be kind, generous, and wonderful… but only to strangers.

It would have been one thing if Ex actually spent the money on the children, but years of experience and observation tell us that she rarely did that. When they had needs, she would shame them. Or she would use them to prop up her own image. In fact, we heard a story about how she once made Bill’s daughters give up one of their beds to a family in their church. She wanted the family–strangers to her– to think of her as a good, generous person. Meanwhile, her daughters were the ones making the actual sacrifice. Because God knows, she wouldn’t be giving up her bed.

The other day, I happened to listen to Dr. Les Carter’s recent video about what happens when a narcissist realizes their target has lost interest. I like most of his videos about narcissism, but this one really resonated with me. I could practically hear the alarm bells going off. I would recommend his channel to anyone dealing with a self-centered, narcissistic, dishonest asshole in their lives. But this video is particularly good.

A great video… very revelatory and insightful.

As for Ex and her shenanigans… I know it’s not my business, and while I would love to call her out directly, I won’t be doing that. There’s no point in doing that, because she won’t stop. All that calling her out might accomplish is to potentially drive her behavior a bit further underground for awhile. Naturally, she would eventually reappear, because she thrives on attention and notoriety. She wants strangers to think highly of her. Those who really know her and can see through her bullshit can go pound sand.

As long as Ex doesn’t approach Bill’s family again, I guess it doesn’t matter if other people fall for her bullshit. Thankfully, at this point, it doesn’t appear that anyone has taken the bait. The crowdfund is still sitting at zero. When her efforts to grift inevitably fail again, she’ll probably engage in another familiar behavior– that of blame shifting. Les Carter talked about that, too…

It’s always someone else’s fault.

I actually find Ex to be a fascinating person. Although I have run into some pretty obnoxious, self-serving, narcissistic individuals in my time, she is one of the most extreme examples. I continue to be stunned by her complete lack of shame and endless gall. It really amazes me. For the longest time, I went to great lengths not to look at what she was doing, because I didn’t want to get angry or have her antics upset me in any way. But now that I do pay attention to her, I’ve genuinely found myself intrigued by her nerve. At the same time, I’m so glad Bill is no longer married to her, and I’m glad at least younger daughter got away from her, and hopefully, she’ll keep her kids away from Ex, too.

I suspect the reason Ex hasn’t boasted about her newest grandson is because she hasn’t yet been told about him. And honestly, I don’t blame younger daughter for that, if that’s the situation.

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social media

“Shame, shame… everybody knows your name!” When people of today, shame others over events from the past…

Back in the 80s, I used to love watching sitcoms on television. One of my favorites from those days was Alice, which, over several years, starred Linda Lavin, Vic Tayback, Beth Howland, Polly Holliday, Diane Ladd, and Celia Weston. A few years ago, I downloaded the entire series and watched all of the episodes. As I was watching the show, I had forgotten that Alice, along with many other TV shows from that era, wasn’t always “politically correct” by today’s standards.

I remember one episode featured cast members from The Dukes of Hazzard, which was a huge hit in the early 80s. I was still a child in the 80s, and I grew up in southern Virginia, where people proudly displayed Confederate battle flags. Consequently, when Alice originally aired in the 80s, I wasn’t shocked when an episode featured Boss Hogg and Enos, of The Dukes of Hazzard. Mel Sharples (Tayback), crotchety owner of Mel’s Diner, welcomed them by putting little Confederate battle flags on all the tables. In those days, seeing that flag was pretty common and even considered “normal”, especially in the South. I was about ten years old, anyway, and at that time, didn’t know anything about racism, or any of the issues surrounding that topic.

Yes, Enos and Boss Hogg visited Mel’s Diner.

I would later learn much more about racism, and why the Confederate flag is so offensive to many people, but I’m probably still pretty ignorant about the subject. What I know is mostly based on book learning and conversations I’ve had with people of color. I did happen to live in South Carolina when the Confederate flag was finally taken down from the top of the Statehouse dome. Because I was living on the campus at the University of South Carolina, I could actually see the flag come down from my apartment, as it was also being televised on CNN. The flag was moved to the Statehouse grounds, where it was guarded by a state trooper for some time. I believe the powers that be in South Carolina eventually removed the battle flag from the Statehouse grounds altogether, although I can’t swear to it, since I haven’t been in Columbia in years.

This certainly wouldn’t fly today… but it was considered perfectly fine in the 80s. We can’t change that by shaming people.

One thing I remember from Alice was that the character of Vera, played by Beth Howland, was famously ditzy, “dinghy”, and batty. One of Vera’s best remembered taglines was “shame, shame… everybody knows your name!” She would always say it with the appropriate level of disgust and disdain, which usually got a laugh from the studio audience. That old line is in my head this morning, as I reflect upon a shaming comment I received this morning from a complete stranger. It’s actually one of a few unpleasant interactions I’ve had with complete strangers on Facebook over the past 24 hours.

I’m in a Facebook group called “Exploring Virginia”. It’s mainly a “feel good” group in which people share beautiful photos and memories of Virginia. I spent most of my childhood and a good portion of my young adult life in Virginia. It’s my home. I was born there, and both sides of my family of origin have been there for generations. I spent my childhood riding horses, and since my discipline was “hunt seat”, that means I went on the occasional fox hunt. Virginia, being one of the original British colonies, does have a lot of traditions that are British. Some people are continuing those old traditions, even if they seem wrong now.

Yesterday, someone shared a photo from a fox hunt in Middleburg, Virginia. Middleburg is horse country. I never lived in Middleburg, but I do know that’s where a lot of really stellar hunter jumpers are born and bred. So, it stands to reason that there would be fox hunts in Middleburg. I thought it was nice that someone shared a photo from a hunt, and posted:

“I used to go on fox hunts in my youth… Was a lot of fun!”

I haven’t been fox hunting since, oh, around 1986 or so… at that time, fox hunts weren’t necessarily considered politically incorrect. They were even still legal in the United Kingdom, which banned them in 2004, because they are considered “cruel” . Fox hunting is still permitted in Northern Ireland. I believe they are still popular in Ireland, too, based on the YouTube videos I’ve seen. Anyway, it’s been many years since I last partook of that sport. In fact, I haven’t even been riding since the mid 90s, and riding used to be a huge part of my life. Seeing that fox hunting photo brought back good memories of when I spent most of my free time with my horse.

Most follow up comments to mine were friendly. Several other people also wrote that they used to enjoy fox hunting. Others just expressed appreciation for the photo, which again, wasn’t my photo. But then, this morning, I got a comment from someone who felt the need to single me out, and shame me, for fondly remembering my fox hunting days. She wrote, in direct response to my comment that hunting was fun, “not for the fox.”

I decided to reply to her, which I think I managed to do in a somewhat measured tone. I wrote:

“In all of the years that I hunted, I never saw any killing. We mostly chased deer, who also weren’t killed. Think trail ride while wearing fancy riding clothes. I think I saw one fox in all the times we hunted. We all said “tallyho”, and that was it.”

I understand that fox hunting is no longer considered “politically correct”, because many people consider it to be cruel. However, when I went fox hunting, I was a child growing up in rural Gloucester, Virginia, where my classmates would routinely bring rifles on school grounds so they could go hunting after school. That’s how things were in the 80s, and it was normal for me, and my classmates. Maybe fox hunting wouldn’t be considered “right” by some people today, but when I was a young horsewoman, it was perfectly fine, and part of taking riding lessons. I also competed in horse shows and went on competitive trail rides. Doing all of that helped keep me physically fit, taught me responsibility, and sportsmanship. It also kept me occupied and out of trouble. Moreover, hunting– of all kinds– was part of the culture in Gloucester.

In fact, when I was in middle school, I remember having to take a hunter safety course as part of our health and P.E. curriculum. Teachers actually taught us about how to safely handle firearms, even though I have never actually owned a weapon. Enough people in my community had guns, that the school board felt it was a good idea to teach school kids about gun safety. In light of all the gun violence in schools today, maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea. Should I be ashamed that I took a hunter safety course, too? I don’t remember having a choice in the matter.

Anyway, the actual kind of fox hunting we did was more of a ceremonial thing. It genuinely was fun, on the mornings when it wasn’t absolutely frigid outside. It basically boiled down to people putting on breeches, long johns, black boots, turtlenecks, and coats, and riding through the woods on fall mornings. After a few spirited canters through the woods, and a few jumps over ditches, fallen tree trunks, and fences that were put up by the hunt club, the adults would pass around a flask of Jack Daniels. It seemed to be more about camaraderie than a bloody sport involving wild animals being torn apart by dogs. I never once saw that happen, but even if I did, it’s not as if people weren’t also using their guns to kill wild animals in those days, and now.

While I probably wouldn’t choose to go fox hunting now, I don’t feel offended when I see a picture of a man in hunting attire on horseback with his dogs. Hunting serves a practical purpose. Some people get their meat that way, and actually hunt because that’s partly how they feed their families. Many people are going to choose to eat meat, no matter what animal rights activists say about it.

I don’t think I should be shamed because I once enjoyed fox hunting, especially since I was a kid at the time, and nothing was ever actually killed. What’s the point of shaming someone for something like that, other than trying to make them feel like shit? I can’t change the fact that I used to fox hunt and mostly enjoyed it. It was part of growing up in rural Virginia around horses. Given that Exploring Virginia is supposed to be a “feel good” group, I think that lady’s comment was out of place. As I was writing this, some other lady gave me a “sad” reaction. Seriously? I decided to just delete my comment, because I don’t want to spend my Friday being annoyed by shamers. I’m sure that reaction was not what the group creators had in mind when they started their group.

For more reading about fox hunting in Virginia, here’s an excellent blog post by someone who describes exactly what I remember from my “hunting days”.

Cue the judgmental responses from the vegan crowd…

I’m not the only one who’s gotten shamed, though. Singer-songwriter Janis Ian shared the featured photo yesterday. Janis Ian regularly posts things that get people riled up and snarky. I like her music, and often agree with her views. She can be funny, too. But I rarely comment on her posts, mainly because I’ve noticed that she can get quite testy in responses to people and, at times, she’s a bit hypocritical. On the other hand, some of her fans are pretty obnoxious. One person commented,

“Yes! I didn’t realise that you are a vegan!”

To which Janis posted, “I’m not.”

The post then became inundated with comments from a preachy vegan who shamed those who enjoy eating meat. There were also a couple of comments about people who feed their cats a vegan diet, which I think is a cruel practice. Cats are true carnivores, and they shouldn’t be forced to be vegans because some humans think hunting is cruel. Even the ASPCA agrees. Cats hunt. It’s in their nature. No matter how many human beings think killing and eating animals is cruel, there will always be creatures who kill their food. It’s part of life.

That being said, I totally agree that factory farming is horrible, and too many of us eat way too much meat. But a holier than thou exchange on Facebook with a complete stranger about veganism isn’t going to make me change my diet, nor do I think the complete stranger really cares. I think it’s more about them feeling superior and more “evolved” than other people.

Personally, I truly admire vegans, but I don’t think I could be a vegan. I might be able to be a vegetarian, if I really desired to make that change. But I will tell you one thing… being preachy and judgmental is not going to make me want to join the vegan cause.

When it comes to animal rights, there are varying degrees on what some people think should be reality. Some animal rights activists, for instance, don’t think humans should even have pets. I’d love to know what they think we should do with all of the dogs and cats and horses who depend on their relationships with humans for their survival. You can’t tell me that my dogs don’t love Bill and me, either. I refuse to feel guilty and ashamed for loving my pets, who also eat meat.

I guess what it comes down to is that everybody has an opinion. In a just world, people would respect other people’s rights to express their opinions without resorting to shaming or climbing up on a moral high horse.

And finally…

Yesterday, I got shamed for “not being fertile”. Some guy in a discussion about abortion commented that he thinks that since half of a developing fetus’s DNA belongs to the father, the father should be allowed to force the mother to gestate. It’s as if this guy thinks of the fetus as his property, even though it’s not developing in his body.

I wrote that it’s too bad that MALES aren’t the ones whose health and life are on the line. And the guy responded by saying “most men prefer women who are fertile.” That struck me as a totally stupid comment. I actually laughed out loud. I considered offering a snarky rebuttal, but then decided that the guy’s comment was so incredibly dumb that it was better to block him. I don’t want to have anything to do with an asshole like that. 😉

But seriously… on so many levels, that comment was very offensive. First off, how does he know about my fertility, or lack thereof? I don’t look old in my photo. Secondly, why is he speaking for all men? And thirdly, it’s those kinds of misogynistic comments that make a lot of women not want to have anything to do with men. I can totally understand why my cousin decided to conceive using donor sperm, rather than being involved with a man. For one thing, she’s a lesbian. For another, so many men are just assholes. I truly hope that no fertile woman lets that dude get within fifty yards of her vagina.

Yeah, yeah, yeah… I need to get off of Facebook.

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communication, complaints, rants

It’s possible to be outraged about more than one thing at a time…

I’m getting a bit of a late start this morning. Those new Comphy sheets I got on Monday are the BOMB. I didn’t think it would be possible for me to like them more than the first set I bought in 2015, but I definitely do. For one thing, I love the fact that they’re navy blue instead of pukey green. For another, they just feel better on many levels. They fit the bed better– the old ones were too big, supposedly to account for pillow top mattresses– and the texture is soft and smooth, but not too silky. I don’t know… they’re just nicer. And for what I paid for them, they really ought to be! Even Bill, who doesn’t care about comfort as much as I do, has commented that he loves them and they help him sleep better.

Anyway, those new sheets were inviting today, since our previously beautiful weather of last week and Monday has vanished. Today, it’s cold and rainy. After breakfast, instead of going to my computer to write, I went back to bed, watched a couple of videos, and started reading my latest book, which made me feel drowsy. So I put the book down and dozed a bit. And now, it’s 9:30am, and I’m finally writing something fresh.

I put up four reposts yesterday, which wasn’t my plan. I had put up one post from the original blog because I was still ruminating on what to write about yesterday. Then I noticed a couple of posts that were kind of important when I initially posted them in 2013 and 2014, and I realized that they were evergreen enough to go up as reposts. And in one of those posts was an old book review, which I like to preserve when I can. By the time I was done reposting and editing, I had spent a couple of hours, and I didn’t figure anyone would be looking for fresh content. Or maybe I just didn’t feel like writing it.

Later yesterday afternoon, I noticed a Facebook friend had posted a “peevish” status update, which appears below:

No disrespect to the person who posted this, but it’s entirely possible for people to be “in a stew” about more than one thing at a time. And quite frankly, I don’t need to be encouraged.

I am mentioning the above post today because I’ve seen similar sentiments from other people about how some people’s priorities are askew. Some people are passively calling out others because we’re discussing incidents like Will Smith’s choice to hit Chris Rock at the Oscars, instead of other issues they think are more important. It occurred to me that I’m a relatively complex person. I can think about more than one issue at a time. I can discuss more than one issue at a time. Though I have both of these abilities, I should be allowed to discuss what I want to without someone else calling me out over it. There’s nothing to say that you have to participate in a discussion about Will Smith’s slap if you don’t want to do that. And there’s nothing to say that I can’t discuss it with those who are interested.

I mention myself in this post, but I don’t think the people complaining about “messed up priorities” were necessarily calling me out specifically. I guess I just want to address how reading those statuses made me feel. It’s yet another weird aspect of our current online obsessed/social media engaged society that baffles me. How is it that we feel the need to chastise our friends, loved ones, colleagues, acquaintances, and perfect strangers about their priorities? What makes us feel like we have the right to criticize others about what they feel like discussing? Especially when they’re doing it on their own spaces? We always have the choice to engage or not, right?

It occurs to me that I am not the type of person who needs to be “encouraged” to be in a stew about anything. I am a card carrying member of the “Easily Pissed Club”. Last week, I was pissed off at USAA… and by the way, I’m still waiting for my new debit card, which they reminded me to activate a couple of days ago. It hasn’t arrived yet, cuz APO sucks. I’m still pissed at PenFed, because I tried twice to open a new checking account with them and couldn’t because of an “error” in their system. Twice, they said they would look into it and contact me again. They haven’t, so I’ve given up on that. Navy Federal took five days to tell Bill that his eligibility documents were too blurry, so we’re still waiting for them to approve him as a member, so I can also join. These are just “stew-worthy” events from my personal life involving my finances.

Then there’s the whole ongoing COVID drama, which Germany refuses to let up on. We were supposed to have “Freedom Day” on March 20, but most of the states opted to continue the ridiculous restrictions until April 2. And now, some city officials are saying they’re going to declare cities “hotspots” so they can continue the restrictions– FFP2 masks required everywhere, social distancing, vaccination checks, and tests. Yesterday, I read an editorial in The Local Germany written by a guy who had gone to Sweden and anticipated coming back to Germany after our so-called non-existent “Freedom Day”. In Sweden, all of the COVID shit has been dropped and, guess what… Sweden’s COVID numbers are supposedly not that different than Germany’s are.

The heavier masks and vaccination checks aren’t stopping the spread of the virus, and they’re keeping Germans and the rest of us who live here in a never ending psychological morass of fear and doom. While countries all around us are dispensing with COVID rules, Germany stubbornly clings to them. Meanwhile, those of us who are fed up with the onerous rules are going to those other countries for our vacations and, perhaps, picking up the virus there. Or we’re staying here and getting the virus, in spite of the fucking heavy masks, which most people don’t bother to wear properly, anyway.

A guy we buy wine from has been trying to convince us to go to Italy at the end of April. We probably won’t do it because of COVID and the annoying COVID rules that would make such an excursion less likely to be fun. Italy has relaxed a lot of rules, but thanks to the psychological trauma that has occurred over the past two years, I’m just not ready to plunge in yet. I think COVID is here to stay, and our best bet is to get vaccinated, take reasonable precautions, and live our lives. The endless restrictions are not effective and no longer make sense. And they take a lot of joy out of living, too. See? I can be in a “stew” about that, too. I’m sure a lot of people– the guy who inspired this post included– would give me shit about my complaints about COVID. But I mention them, only because he apparently has a problem with people who are discussing Will Smith’s altercation with Chris Rock.

And finally, there’s the war in Ukraine, which of course is a terrible situation. I have never been to Ukraine, but I would have liked the opportunity to visit at some point. I have been inspired and enchanted by the stories of courage that have come out since Putin’s invasion. I also know people who are personally touched by the war in Ukraine. I absolutely feel for the people there. But my talking and posting about it isn’t going to change anything. There’s not a lot I can do about Ukraine, except donate money and items like clothing and shoes for those who have been made refugees. I have already donated some clothes and have made a point of buying Ukrainian products when I can. And I can continue to hear the stories about the war and the people who are affected by it. I can do that, and still have an opinion about Will Smith and Chris Rock. Not posting about Ukraine 24/7 doesn’t make me a morally deficient person whose priorities are lacking.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty goddamned sick and tired of people shaming others all the time. I especially think it’s out of place on Facebook, which is supposed to be a place where people connect. Wasn’t it originally supposed to be a fun activity, reconnecting with old friends and keeping in touch with relatives and such? When did people decide Facebook was the place to try to make other people feel like shit for not having the right “priorities”? Maybe the guy who inspired today’s post didn’t intend to make me feel “bad”– and even if it was his intent to do that, he didn’t succeed anyway. But the tone of that post is pretty shaming, in my opinion. Who put him in charge of policing other people’s reactions to current events?

I think it’s okay for people to have different priorities. Wouldn’t the world be a very boring place if we all talked about the same things? Isn’t it better that we have differing opinions? Can’t we learn from each other by discussing things in a civilized way? I know I’ve learned new things from having respectful conversations with other people. But honestly, most of us don’t need another reason to feel bad.

I also don’t think it’s wrong to have a discussion about what happened at the Oscars. There are even a number of angles that can be explored. For instance, one of my friends thinks it’s possible that Will Smith might have been under the influence of something when he reacted to Chris Rock’s lame joke. She also thinks it’s possible Jada Pinkett Smith might have even instigated Smith’s violent reaction. I don’t know anything about the Smiths’ relationship, but I do know that Will Smith’s choice to hit Chris Rock cast a real pall over what should have been a positive and family friendly event. It wasn’t until yesterday that I heard about how Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli had a touching moment. Wouldn’t it have been nice if we could have heard about that as much as we did about Will Smith and Chris Rock? Isn’t it worth discussing that? As long as it’s all civilized, anyway…

Just re-reading my title for this post, I suppose I could just mention that I think it’s possible to suffer from “outrage overload”. I don’t need to be encouraged to be more outraged. I can handle that condition pretty easily on my own, thanks. And I don’t need more stress or worry in my life. I don’t need more shame, either. I think that’s true for a lot of us. I will continue to expect the worst and hope for the best. A little bit of fun, joy, and lively discussion is what keeps life worth living.

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communication, complaints, condescending twatbags, language, rants, religion

Oh my God, how OBNOXIOUS!

The featured photo is of a t-shirt offered on Amazon.com. I probably ought to order it for the warmer days that are rapidly approaching.

I hope everybody had a nice Valentine’s Day. Mine was pretty quiet. Thanks to COVID-19, and the general doldrums that have come about because of that, plus Bill’s busy status at work, the crappy weather, and just the fact that I’m getting older and more crotchety, Valentine’s Day was pretty low key. I didn’t even write any fresh content yesterday, even though I had a couple of topics in mind. I just wasn’t in the mood.

But anyway, Bill delivered. I got a beautiful bouquet of roses and one of Bill’s trademark mushy cards. My Amazon.com orders came in, and I got two new box sets of forgotten 70s and 80s era shows I loved as a kid. And, glory of glories, I also got new underwear! Unfortunately, they are not made of my preferred combed cotton knit, but of some kind of yucky “super soft” material. It’s probably modal, or something like that. I have had them before, and didn’t like them… and I guess I failed to realize I had ordered them again. Oh well. At least they aren’t stained yet.

Bill is home today, because he’s taking three classes from the Jung Institute in Zurich. Originally, our plan was to go to Switzerland so he could attend in person, but COVID-19 fucked that up, too. Ironically, even Germany is talking about loosening restrictions very soon– like, next week, “loosening” is supposed to commence. But I doubt that will mean the same to most Americans as it does to me.

The fucking face masks will still be required… the heavier, “coffee filter” ones, that I absolutely loathe, which haven’t actually stopped the spread of the virus. Yeah, I know this makes me sound like an “anti-masker”, which maybe I am on some level. I am an anti-masker in the sense that I want them to eventually go away. I recognize their utility in crowds, when the virus is running amok and there are no vaccines. But it’s been almost two years, and we’re all so tired. When Germany says it will “loosen” restrictions, that means that they’ll stop with the 2G+ nonsense… meaning to go into a business or restaurant, one must be fully vaccinated AND tested or boosted. Or the even more ridiculous 2G++ requirement– vaxxed, boosted, and tested. And they’ll let more people visit each other or be indoors. They’re just doing this because spring is coming, and they want people to spend money. As far as I’m concerned, if I have to wear a coffee filter, I’d rather stay home, or go to a place where I don’t have to wear a coffee filter. Which brings me to my next topic…

Apologies to the person on my friends list who posted the below photo if s/he finds my upcoming comments offensive or shaming. I honestly feel the need to discuss this… because again, how obnoxious…

I saw this yesterday and had to scratch my head a bit. Besides the apostrophe abuse, the message is just fucked up.

I’m about 100 percent sure the person who shared the above photo meant well. It was probably meant to inspire thought… or maybe a sense of shame. I don’t know. I would expect that the people who saw this were friends, and I would hope the person’s friends weren’t the type of people who would need to be reminded to be ashamed about the horrors of the Jim Crow era. I don’t think this photo quite sends a logical message.

Let’s stop and think about the two situations being compared for just a minute. In one situation, a person encounters a “masks only” sign. That means he or she must either put on a mask to enter an establishment, or go home and order online. That sign has nothing to do with anything beyond the person’s control. It’s a matter of choice. Wear a mask and do your business, or go home and order online. Simple, right?

The other situation involves people being excluded simply because they have dark skin. That’s something beyond their control. The people in that photo can’t just go home and change skins or order online. What’s more, having dark skin isn’t like spreading a contagious and potentially deadly disease. Being a person of color isn’t contagious, nor would I say it’s a negative thing. It just is. By contrast, nobody sane wants to catch COVID-19.

Looking at the meme again, I also think that the comparisons are kind of like apples and oranges in terms of the “victims”. I mean, most “woke” people routinely condemn the so called “obnoxious” anti-maskers among us, right? They say things like, “It’s just a strip of cloth.” or “It’s no big deal.” or “Just get with the program so we can get beyond the pandemic.” And when anti-maskers or anti-vaxxers happen to fall ill with COVID-19, the pro-face mask crusaders then have a good laugh. Some of them really yuk it up when some of those people end up dying due to their ignorance and stubbornness, as they self-righteously continue with their preaching about showing compassion and consideration during the COVID-19 era.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am fully onboard with vaccines. I will even admit that masks are a good idea in crowds, when the virus is especially deadly, there are no effective treatments, and people aren’t vaccinated. I just want the masks to go away someday. I dream of a day when we can be in public again and not have to deal with annoying rules. And until that day comes, I’ll probably just mostly stay home and order things online. I’m not going to protest or get into a fight with someone over wearing a mask. I probably just won’t do business with them in person, if I can help it. That’s my choice. I don’t mind making that choice, and I’m sure the people in public life are fine with me not being around them. They won’t even know the difference. Because seriously… how obnoxious! I know I am, so I will spare everyone.

But when it comes to the other part of the meme– the part where we’re asked to consider how people of color felt when they encountered a “whites only” sign, I just don’t think that quite compares to being asked to put on a mask. Most decent people roundly condemn the Jim Crow laws. A “whites only” sign would be very offensive to them. The same group of people would probably not be offended by a “masks only” sign. Get it?

Apparently, a lot of people didn’t think about this photo for as long as I did, since it went viral. But when I clicked on the photo my friend shared, it took me to the original post. There was a lively discussion going on, with many people who could see the same issue with it that I see. These two situations simply don’t compare. One person commented that this meme was one of the stupidest things she’d ever seen. I wouldn’t be quite that harsh. I think the person who made it probably meant well. I just wish he or she had given it a bit more thought, just as I wish those who are sharing it, presumably with their friends, would consider it a little more.

How is that photo supposed to make your friends feel? Is it your intent to shame your friends? Because, honestly, that’s how I felt when I saw it. And then I felt pretty annoyed. Don’t we have enough to be concerned about these days without conflating two such serious issues that don’t really measure up to each other? Is it really anyone’s intentions to offend their friends on social media? I do hate the face masks and I chomp at the bit for the day when we can ditch them. But I don’t think being asked to wear a mask in order to slow down a contagious disease compares, in any way, with the horrors of the Jim Crow laws. They are totally different concepts.

I suspect the photo was intended to shame anti-maskers by reminding them of how horrible and difficult it’s been for truly oppressed people. I think it really misses the mark, though, and oversimplifies things. I would hope that your friends don’t really need this kind of shaming.

I’m getting pretty tired of people on social media using it as a means of being sanctimonious to other people, anyway. I know a lot of people do it. They like getting on a soap box, and social media makes it easy and relatively safe to do so. It’s still very annoying, though, and probably not that effective, especially toward friends. Or, at least, that’s my take. All it does is spread unnecessary negativity. In fact, I find the practice highly obnoxious. 😉

Moving on to another obnoxious topic. That would be Paula White, televangelist extraordinaire. The other day, James of Fundie Fridays did an excellent video about her. I think Paula White is extremely obnoxious. I thought so when I first discovered her on TBN back in 2003 or so. I used to watch her show for fun, because I found her so incredibly over-the-top. But then she became our most obnoxious former president’s “spiritual advisor”, which gave her an even bigger platform. And she really showed us the crazy, didn’t she?

If you are at all interested in Paula White and her crazy story, you should watch James’s video. My only criticism of the video is that James went on a little bit longer than he probably needed to; and he used a few too many Journey references, since Paula is currently married to Jonathan Cain, who plays keyboards for Journey. But overall, I think he did an excellent job of exposing the crazy shit that spews from Paula White’s collagen plumped lips. Bravo, James!

Good gawd. How obnoxious!!!

I probably would have written a whole post devoted to the above Paula White dedicated video, especially since I know that James and Jen of Fundie Fridays have become very popular and, hey, I like to ride on the coattails of other people’s successes when I can, right? Because I am obnoxious that way… I have noticed that people hit this blog because I’ve written about Fundie Fridays. So it’s not a bad thing when I mention that channel, because it’s a win/win. It exposes new people to their content, and possibly mine, too. I don’t aim to be as popular as they are, but it’s not a bad thing to get some ad revenue. Maybe enough to buy beer? That would be nice.

In the interest of not pulling a “James”, I’m gonna wrap this up and do some guitar practice. Sorry to be so obnoxious this morning. Noyzi put that theme in my head, as he was galloping through the house like a freak as Bill prepared to walk him and Arran. As he came whizzing past us in his joy, I said, “Oh my God! How OBNOXIOUS!” I love the word “obnoxious”. It’s a word that people have used to describe me since the day I was born. I might as well own my obnoxiousness with this obnoxious post. I don’t enjoy offending people, and I’m truly sorry that some people think I’m obstreperous. That’s another reason I stay home. 😉

Anyway, hope y’all have a good day. And if my friend finds my commentary on the above meme obnoxious, I do apologize. But, if I’m honest, I really think the meme really gets it wrong and, to be frank, I was a bit offended by it, and felt the need to vent. So, I’m sorry if I offend, but not sorry that I wrote on this topic. I hope we can still be friends. 🙂

And just to be even more obnoxious, below is a link to Amazon, where you can purchase the t-shirt… and I will get a small commission from Amazon, if you do. See? Another win/win.

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